About Us

For more than 40 years, the Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has presented world-class independent, international, and classic cinema. Renamed in honor of the late film critic in 2000, the Gene Siskel Film Center presents approximately 1,500 screenings and 100 guest artist appearances year to over 80,000 film enthusiasts at its unique, sophisticated, modern facilities which have been operating since June 2001 at 164 North State Street.

Gene Siskel possessed a laser-like ability to discern quality in everything. He always looked for the finest; expected it and appreciated it. That is what drew him to The Film Center at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. There, Gene found a superior showcase for the world's greatest films. He championed the Film Center from its very inception, as did his distinguished fellow film critic, Roger Ebert. When asked by a journalist to list his three favorite things about Chicago, Gene named Michael Jordan, Mayor Daley, and the Film Center. Gene was a member of the Film Center's Advisory Committee and a strong supporter of the Film Center's mission and wrote hundreds of articles applauding the Film Center's distinctive programming, lending the power of his position as one of the world's most respected film critics to urge public funding and audience support.


Since its founding in 1972, the Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has distinguished itself as a renowned presenter of motion picture art in the city. One of the largest and most comprehensive programs of its kind in the country, the Film Center presents premieres of new American and foreign films, revivals of classics, retrospectives, independent productions, and festivals of international scope. It also features personal appearances by prominent filmmakers, critics, actors, and historians.

Continuing with the Film Center's long-standing mission of presenting significant world cinema in a non-commercial context that sets aesthetic, critical and entertainment standards, the Gene Siskel Film Center exhibits a range of carefully curated film art while educating audiences, and setting film in a historical and cultural context through courses, lectures, guest appearances, panel discussions, and publications.

On June 1, 2001, the Film Center started presenting films in its new location, the most state-of-the-art movie facility in the Midwest, located at 164 N. State Street. In November 2001, the Film Center was fully operational seven days a week, utilizing both theaters. Over 100 programs are presented every month.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago was founded by a small group of artists in 1866. Their purpose was to provide an excellent education in the studio arts in conjunction with exhibition opportunities. The Art Institute of Chicago's collections, which now constitute some of the finest museum holdings anywhere, began as the Chicago Academy of Design with a modest gift of plaster casts from the French government.

The small art school, which expanded from one rented facility within the city to another and was burned out of its first permanent home by the Chicago Fire, incorporated as the Chicago Academy of Fine Art in 1879, and changed its name to The Art Institute of Chicago in 1882. The museum and School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) moved into a building erected for the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893.

The SAIC has become one of the largest accredited independent schools of art and design in the country, and since 1976 has occupied its own modern facilities adjoining the museum and overlooking Grant Park and Lake Michigan. An accredited college of the visual and related arts, the SAIC provides degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The SAIC offers a broad and dynamic spectrum of study including art and technology; arts administration; art history, theory and criticism; art education and art therapy; fashion design; filmmaking; historic preservation and interior architecture; painting and drawing; performance; photography; printmaking; sculpture; sound; time arts (time-based media); video; visual communication; and writing. A comprehensive program in liberal arts emphasizes the pivotal role that humanities, mathematics and sciences play in artists' development. The SAIC also serves as a national resource for issues related to the position and importance of the arts in society.

The Gene Siskel Film Center is a public program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
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The Gene Siskel Film Center and the SAIC are part of The Art Institute of Chicago
Visit the Art Institute website.